Send to

Choose Destination
J Immunol. 2008 Feb 15;180(4):2029-33.

Cutting edge: progesterone regulates IFN-alpha production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, National Regional Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Use of the progesterone (Pg) birth control depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) increases a woman's risk for sexually transmitted infection with HIV or HSV-2 via unknown mechanisms. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are circulating and tissue-resident sentinels capable of making large quantities of IFN-alpha upon recognizing viruses through TLRs 7 and 9. In this study, we show that Pg inhibits TLR9-induced IFN-alpha production by human and mouse pDCs and that DMPA impairs TLR9- and virus-induced IFN-alpha production by pDCs in mice, providing a potential explanation for how DMPA impairs innate antiviral immunity in women. Pg failed to inhibit the Mda-5 pathway of IFN-alpha induction in dendritic cells, suggesting that Pg regulates select antiviral DC programs. This may occur through selective blockade of IFN regulatory factor-7 activation, a novel steroid action. Thus, through inhibition of TLR-mediated IFN-alpha production by pDCs, Pg may regulate antiviral immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center